Clean Yard Tidy House is an exhibition by Margaret Joba-Woodruff of prints made during a year in residency as the Don Wright Scholar at St. Michael’s Printshop on the island of Ktaqmkuk in what is colonially known as the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland.
The title is translated from metal plaques that were awarded to residents in Hungarian villages who manicured their front yards in response to campaigns in the 1950’s which encouraged citizens to keep an orderly environment. The phrase – Tiszta Udvar Rendes Ház – is also used as a proverb that can be translated to imply that “what you see is what you get.” In this show, Joba-Woodruff uses a range of print media including cyanotype, stone lithography, etching, monotype, screen print, and collagraph to labour through curiosities of how we orient ourselves to the spaces of work, home, body and land. Unlike Tiszta Udvar Rendes Ház, the works in the show appear to be both as they are, but also as what they are not. Drawn from lived experience and transformed by handmade processes, the prints exhibited explore the failings of memory and representation; revealing cracks in the narratives that we construct for ourselves and that others impose on us.
The creation of this body of work was supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. A tender and most special thank you goes to Christeen Francis, Drew Pardy, and Georgia Dawkin from St. Michael’s Printshop for nurturing what is the heart of printmaking in Newfoundland and Labrador.